Access to information bill. In spite of
numerous promises recorded earlier,
government maintained it was still consulting and would present it in the first
parliamentary session in 2014 after reconciling the law with conflicting legislation. By the end of the year, the bill had
still not been tabled before parliament
and the way forward remained unclear.

Violations against journalists
and media freedom
In a bizarre turn of events, it was surprising to witness the reversal of a decision to grant nation-wide licenses to two
prominent radio stations citing issues of
national security and declaring only the
state-owned media should broadcast
During the official opening of Parliament, various media houses were barred
from covering the proceedings of the
house in the chamber. Only state media
and one privately owned, but government aligned, newspaper were allowed.
This came after authorities cautioned
against ‘irresponsible reporting’ of the
president’s health. MISA Zambia later
challenged the decision in court.
Another major violation was the storming of the main public broadcaster,
Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Newsroom by government
officials in alleged protest against stories
carried by the outlet, further ordering removal of certain news items.

Government promises to meet
digital migration deadlines
The ministry of broadcasting and information launched the digital migration


So This is Democracy? 2014

policy and reassured stakeholders of
commitment towards meeting the deadline set by the ITU. Publicity and public
awareness activities commenced and
trial dates for switch over set and later
moved forward.

Government condemns online
media as unethical and intrusive
There were numerous calls to regulate
online media and condemnation by the
government stating said media are unethical and intrusive. The government
also clamped down on online media by
restricting access to websites perceived
to be critical, thereby relegating them to
their social media pages.
There was a notable increase in the
number of online publications in the
year under review, with more mainstream media improving their use of social media, a laudable move.
President takes to Facebook
Another move worth commendation
was the establishment of a Facebook
page by the republican President, allowing some level of interaction with the

Through most of the events characterising 2014, it is evident that so many
steps have to be taken to ensure media
freedom and freedom of expression are
guaranteed and protected. The coming
year offers some hope in view of the release of the final draft constitution with
considerable laws offering solace to the
fight for media freedom and guaranteed
freedom of expression. This, however,
will only be consummated by the subsequent adoption and enactment of the
said constitution.

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